It’s strange the way darkness displaces a little more light every day in the north. I’ve been so busy I didn’t notice the dawn slowly shift from behind the eastern mountains to rise, lazily, beside the ridge of hills much further to the south. Yesterday I needed to turn on my headlights at 3:30 in the afternoon. How did it get so dark so fast?
I have a light on my desk that imitates sunlight. It produces “lux” sufficient to cheer my writing space, but little more. If I were to aim it out my window into the blackness it would scarcely draw the attention of anyone stumbling in the dark street. It’s enough to change my room but not enough to make an impact beyond it.
One of the best opening sentences of any novel (prove me wrong) is Dickens’ “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Today I feel if I wrote, “It was the darkest of times; it was the brightest of times.” many of you would understand.
I don’t want to be accosted by the news anymore. It’s not just a matter of avoiding the pain of another disaster, another riot, another variant, another death count, another public breach of trust, another grab for power in the guise of “public service.” (“No one jostles for the position of servant,” Gayle Erwin reminds us). I don’t want to pay so much attention to the news on any media because it involves so many people promoting problems by yelling higher and louder than they did the last time their attempts at playing God didn’t work. Very few are listening. Animosity escalates. Our best efforts are not enough. And it’s getting dangerous to say so. How did it get so dark so fast?
I had a vision the other evening. (Take it or leave it. I’ve stopped apologizing.) I saw crowds of people coming from all directions toward a small circle with light emanating from the center. Tired bodies were dressed in dark clothes. Everyone had slumped shoulders and moved without swinging their arms. Some shuffled along as if in pain, but they were all drawn by curiosity to see this strange light. Some pushed their way to the front. I was one of them.
The light emanated from a baby in a manger. I watched him turn into a boy discussing matters of importance with religious leaders baffled by his enlightened insight. He grew into a man creating with carpenter’s tools in his hands. I saw him touching, healing, teaching, caring, and leading as crowds of followers grew. With every action the light around and within him shone brighter. The whole story was told in light I can’t explain. Then I saw him being taken away and murdered on a cross. His body was left in a sealed tomb. The light in the circle suddenly died.
A moan went up from the crowd. It was as though their greatest fear, the fear of disappointment, had been realized.
Then the light walked out of the grave and expanded as he rose until it was too bright for the onlookers to see. The light rose to fill the whole earth. It spread in ripples, and as it did tens, then hundreds, then thousands spontaneously fell to the ground and bowed in worship. I looked and saw costumes and masks drop. I saw ceremonial and honorary robes of all kinds fall to the ground as people bowed in humble adoration.
I realized that Jesus Christ was at the center of all of this. I watched as a chalice appeared where he stood and became a fountain. Out of him flowed light, hope, healing, forgiveness and love, pure love in the form of blood. It was as if many people were overwhelmed by his presence and, really seeing him for the first time, knew he was the answer to the darkness within themselves.
I saw selfish ambition, mockery, slander and mischief slink away as if they found the light too painful to bear.
Later that night, as I walked home under dark clouds, I thought of all the Christmas songs that talked about waiting in darkness and about the baby who came to bring light into the world. On the first day of advent an obscure verse from the ancient hymn “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel” played in my heart.
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Emmanuel means “God with us.” Before this happened I had been praying about how to pray in these dark days. I believe God was showing me the importance of keeping Christ at the center of everything I do. I pray for new life to spring up as his light shines in the darkness and makes an impact beyond my own little corner.
After Paul the apostle came down from his intellectual discussions with philosophers on Mars Hill (which impressed only a few people) he ended up in Corinth. He wrote this about the experience with the people there: My brothers and sisters, when I first came to proclaim to you the secrets of God, I refused to come as an expert, trying to impress you with my eloquent speech and lofty wisdom. For while I was with you I was determined to be consumed with one topic—Jesus, the crucified Messiah. I stood before you feeling inadequate, filled with reverence for God, and trembling under the sense of the importance of my words. The message I preached and how I preached it was not an attempt to sway you with persuasive arguments but to prove to you the almighty power of God’s Holy Spirit. For God intended that your faith not be established on man’s wisdom but by trusting in his almighty power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-4)
My eloquent speech and lofty wisdom plus ten dollars will get you on any subway in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. But the Holy Spirit? His signs point to the Light. As circumstances become darker, the light shines brighter and brighter. This time we’re in? It may be the darkest of times, but it is also the brightest of times. Consider the Light.
8 thoughts on “O Come, Thou Dayspring”
Holy touches me as I read your post. “Thank you” seems inadequate, but it is heartfelt, Charis.
Love unending to you!!
Love to you as well, Lois.
Oh Charis….sooo wonderful to see that U R writing again….🥰 This is so beautifully describing the season we are in and how easy to get caught up with “the stuff”. Bringing our focus continually back to Jesus, The Light is truly the answer and the only place that we find true peace and hope. Rich Blessings my Amazing friend. 💌
Thank you for your kind words, Cathy. I will always remember your kindness and sweet spirit when I was going through trying times. It’s so easy to get caught up with the “stuff,” isn’t it? Sometimes I wonder why the Lord doesn’t give me a smack upside the head and say, “Snap out of it!” He is wonderfully patient with me.
Charis, this is the season for the light of Christ to shine. Here in the Far North, the sun comes up late and sets early from south east to south west, just barely over the horizon. It causes me to think about the light changing the darkness. Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication or Festival of Lights, started Sunday might. A little light makes such a difference in the darkness. Christ at the center, illuminates the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome the light. Love your vision. Light always conquers darkness and attracts others. Thank you for sharing. Blessings of light in your new home!
I thought of friends in Alaska and the Northern Territories yesterday as I noticed long shadows at noon. We used to live at the start of the Alaska Highway and I struggled with the darkness there. I can’t imagine living in the far north in the winter. Hanukkah becomes more meaningful as a Festival Jesus attended after you have lived in the dark. Thank God for the light in the darkness!
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Yes I appreciate the light, after living in the Far North. A little light makes such a difference. It is not only dark but cold. It got down to -35 F or -37.22 C. Love the light of Jesus in the darkness!
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Beautiful 😊 “In Him was life, and life was the light of men.”